GIANT slayer Andy Mangan paid a heavy price for getting one over two of his best pals in a week of Football League shocks in the Capital One Cup second round.
The Shrewsbury striker netted a sublime free-kick to give Micky Mellon’s side a deserved 1-0 victory over a Leicester side featuring fellow Scouser and childhood friend David Nugent.
The Premier League Foxes also had Mangan’s old Fleetwood team-mate Jamie Vardy watching from the sidelines at the King Power Stadium.
Both would have been proud of Mangan’s effort, but the striker didn’t have long to savour it after pulling up injured as he ran off to celebrate.
“As I’ve hit the ball and turned away, my entire right-hand side – my back, my calf, my hamstring – seemed to stiffen up,” said Mangan, a summer signing from Forest Green Rovers.
“Once it settled down it was just my hammy, but it put a bit of a downer on the whole thing. That’s four goals in four games since I signed so an injury is the last thing I need.”
Despite their combined 20 years in the game, Mangan had never played against Nugent and made sure to collect a souvenir to mark the occasion.
“Nuge and Vards are big mates so I made sure to get their shirts,” said the former Accrington, Wrexham and Fleetwood striker.
“Me and Nuge grew up together. We used to hang round from the age of 13 or 14 and I know his family really well.
“Dave’s just had a little ’un and I’ve got two kids. We were talking after the match about how it changes you. To have known each other so long and then play each other was really nice.
“He’s a fantastic player. He’ll get goals against anybody at any level. And I love Vards as well. I still speak to him all the time.
“He has proved himself in the Championship and I’ve no doubt he’ll do the same in the Premier League. I’ve got nothing but admiration for what he’s done.”
At 27, Mangan knows his own dreams of top-flight football are probably fading, but says the performance against Leicester should give Shrewsbury’s young squad the belief required to make it to the top.
“The result didn’t flatter us,” he added. “We could have had a few more goals and we played some really good stuff.
“It’s not like they had a bad team out either. Nuge came on, Andy King came on. They had Riyad Mahrez, Marcin Wasilewski, Chris Wood. That’s five internationals right off the bat.
“It’s always nice pitting yourself against Premier League teams and seeing where you’re at. Before the game I think a lot of our lads probably thought, ‘I’d love to mix it with these players – what do I need to do to get there?’
“At that level, they make more right decisions, they’re more consistent, maybe better at looking after themselves.
“But our boys took that and raised it. When you think that I was the oldest player out there, they’ve got a great future.”
And Mangan, who spent the majority of last season frozen out of the first team at Non-League Forest Green, is just happy to be reunited with Shrews boss Mellon for whom he scored 24 goals in 53 games at Fleetwood.
“I owe Micky big time,” he said. “I said to him on the day I signed that it was like going home. He’s basically been my manager for the last four years because I’ve still spoken to him regularly.
“Over the course of my career, certain things have happened. But I’ve always come back and scored goals and made people forget the negatives.
“Micky knows I just love my football and live to score goals. That’s all I want to do.”